How to Configure Auto-Login for Windows 10 Domain or Workgroup PC

By 4 weeks ago

Which is more important: security or convenience? We don’t appear to be able to have it all, therefore we must choose what is most important to us. Being able to auto-login to Windows can be useful if convenience wins out and Windows is relatively safe. It’s also safer than not using a password on Windows. We can set up auto-login for Windows 10 computers that are either part of a domain or stand-alone.

Enable Auto-Login for Windows 10 Using SysInternals Autologon

The best approach to enable auto-login in Windows 10 is to use SysInternals Autologon. Microsoft’s SysInternals Autologon is a simple application. SysInternals provides a set of tools to assist with a variety of tasks, including debugging Windows. Download and unzip the folder from https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/downloads/autologon.

  1. elect the correct Autologon version for the computer. Plain Autologon is for 32-bit Windows and Autologon64 is for 64-bit windows.
  1. A User Access Control (UAC) window will open asking for permission to run the app. Select Yes.
  1. The Autologon License Agreement window opens. Read and select Agree to continue.
  1. Autologon will already be filled in with the Username and Domain. Enter the Password for the user and select Enable.

To disable auto-login later, just open Autologon and select Disable.

Enable Auto-Login for Windows 10 Workgroup PC Through Settings

For whatever reason, we may not wish to use an app to enable auto-login. That’s fine; you can do it manually as well.

  1. Press Windows Key + R to open the Run panel.
  2. Type <pre>netplwiz</pre> and press Enter. The User Accounts window will open.
  1. Uncheck the box that reads Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer. Select OK.
  1. The Automatically sign in window will open, pre-filled with the user name. Enter the Password and Confirm Password.

Once we’re back in the User Accounts window, select the Advanced tab. Find Require users to press Ctrl + Alt + Delete to login and make sure it’s unchecked. Select OK and on the next login, Windows won’t ask for a password.

How to Enable Require Users Checkbox

What if there isn’t a checkbox? This is a regular occurrence with Windows 10. There are a few options for restoring the checkbox, but only one of them is certain to work. It necessitates the use of the Windows Registry Editor. Before making any changes to the registry, establish a backup.

  1. Press Windows Key + R to open the Run panel.
  2. Type regedit and press Enter.

A User Account Control (UAC) window opens asking, Do you want to allow this app to make changes to your device? Select Yes.

  1. When the Registry Editor window opens, navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Microsoft > Windows NT > CurrentVersion > PasswordLess > Device.
  1. Double-click on the DevicePasswordLessBuildVersion key and change the Value data from 2 to 0. Select OK.

Close the Registry Editor and restart the computer.

Close the Registry Editor and restart the computer.

If the registry key doesn’t exist, it can be created. Open the CMD prompt or PowerShell as Administrator.

Enter the command reg ADD “HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\PasswordLess\Device” /v DevicePasswordLessBuildVersion /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f and press Enter

When the response The operation completed successfully appears, restart the computer.

  1. Once the computer has restarted, go through the steps related to using the netplwiz command above. The Users must enter a user name and password to use this computer checkbox is now there.

Enable Auto-Login for Windows 10 PC in a Domain

This isn’t something you should use on a regular basis. Enabling auto-login without taking the necessary security procedures can put the domain at risk. However, it could be beneficial for a display system in places like fast food outlets and airports.

When the devices were reset after a power interruption, they would automatically log back in. An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) on the devices is the optimum circumstance.

The modifications we’ll make can be saved as a Group Policy Object (GPO) and applied as needed across the domain.

  1. On the domain controller, open Group Policy Management and navigate to Domains > YourDomain > Group Policy Objects. Once there, right-click on Group Policy Objects and select New.
  1. Enter a descriptive name, like Auto Login, for the new GPO and select OK.
  1. Right-click on the Auto Login GPO and select Edit…
  1. The Group Policy Management Editor opens. Navigate to Computer Configuration > Preferences > Windows Settings > Registry.
  1. Right-click on Registry and select New > Registry Item. We’ll create 5 registry keys with this part of the process. We’ll go through the first one. Repeat the steps accordingly for the other 4 registry keys with the properties provided below.
  1. In New Registry Properties, leave Action as Update and Hive as HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE (HKLM). Select the ellipses or three-dots (…) next to the Key Path field. The Registry Item Browser window opens.

Navigate to HKLM SOFTWARE Microsoft Windows NT CurrentVersion Winlogon then choose Select to set that as the path for the key.

  1. Back in the New Registry Properties window, enter AutoAdminLogon in the Value Name field. Leave Value type defaulted to REG_SZ and enter 1 in the Value data field. The 1 means enable AutoAdminLogon. If we wanted to disable it, we’d change that to zero (0). Select OK to set the registry setting in the GPO.

Repeat steps 5 to 7 using the following values:

To set the domain name to be used by autologon:

Key Path: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

Value type: REG_SZ

Value Name: DefaultDomainName

Value data: YourDomainName – in this example, it’s CORP

To set the default username used by autologon:

Key Path: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

Value type: REG_SZ

Value Name: DefaultUserName

Value data: YourUsername – in this example, it’s AutoLogonSvc

To set the default password used by autologon:

Key Path: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

Value type: REG_SZ

Value Name: DefaultPassword

Value data: The password of the user set in the previous key

To prevent the username from being shown on reboot:

Key Path: HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

Value type: REG_SZ

Value Name: DontDisplayLastUserName

Value data: 1

  1. Once the keys are created and in the order shown below, apply the GPO in the Group Policy Management window by dragging and dropping it on the desired groups.

When the devices are rebooted, the GPO will be picked up and applied to their registry.

The password was saved in plain text, as you can see. When utilising autologon in a domain, be extremely cautious. Anyone who has access to the Registry Editor can view the password and username. They now have access to everything that can be accessed with those credentials. Preventing anyone from accessing the registry editor and using a service account with limited permissions for the autologon are two safeguards that can be implemented.

Will You Use Auto-Login?

What will you do with auto-login now that you know how to set it up? Do you use auto-login already? If yes, what circumstance did you encounter and did you come across anything we should be aware of? Please tell us about it in the comments section below.

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